Self-insertion is a literary device in which a fictional character who is the real author of a work of fiction appears as an idealized character within that fiction, either overtly or in disguise.
The device should not be confused with a first-person narrator, or an author surrogate, or a character somewhat based on the author, whether intentionally or not. Many characters have been described as unintentional self-insertions, implying that their author is unconsciously using them as an author surrogate.
In art, the equivalent is the "inserted self-portrait", where the artist paints a self-portrait in a narrative subject, which has been common since at least the Renaissance.
- The Razor's Edge by Somerset Maugham.
- Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
- The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles
- Stan Lee in different Marvel comic books and movies.
- Clive Cussler author of Dirk Pitt novels, has inserted himself as a deus ex machina character in several of his books.
- Gargantua and Pantagruel by François Rabelais, in the chapter "How Pantagruel with his tongue covered a whole army, and what the author saw in his mouth."
- Milton: A Poem in Two Books by William Blake.
- The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri.
- The title character of the Rush Revere series by Rush Limbaugh.
- I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
- Homestuck by Andrew Hussie
- JPod by Douglas Coupland
- Goetz, Sharon K. (2010-04-01). Terminus: Collected Papers on Harry Potter, 7-11 August 2008. Lulu.com. pp. 516–. ISBN 9780982680704. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Mason, Fran (2009). The A to Z of Postmodernist Literature and Theater. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 338–. ISBN 9780810868557. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- The Encyclopaedia Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica. 2014. Retrieved 17 November 2014.